They’re opening up stores and services. Yay! Yay?
People are going back to work! Woohoo! Um…
Who is more likely to be able to work from home and be safe? People that work on computers, people that spend time in meetings (zoom or in-person), people that can submit their work electronically, people that spend their time on the phone, No Problem!
However, there are people whose presence is absolutely required. You can’t electronically submit a hamburger. You can’t email a cow or a pig. You can’t stock shelves from home. You can’t manufacture cars from home. We have managed to get around some of the problems but people are out of work and now they have to choose between starving and exposing themselves to a deadly virus. We don’t quit pointing fingers because that’s what we do best. We blame and blame and insult and attack any people that had anything to do with the methods by which this virus was handled, BUT IT DOESN’T FIX THE PROBLEM.
I am disappointed because we all looked at the quarantine as just temporary and more of a suggestion than an order, and we didn’t learn anything. I wanted to continue saving money and cooking at home (and knowing who was going to be home when the food was ready) and saving on gas and convenience food. But due to the relaxation of the stay-at-home suggestion, we will actually go back to doing the stuff that got us in trouble in the first place.
Most of us will not have a choice in going back to the way we were because their lives depend on it. But those that DO have a choice should make the choice to remain at home and reducing the money wasted on things that really don’t matter.
- We should encourage the small-business owners that are fighting to keep their businesses open.
- We should keep our focus less on convenience and more on efficient uses of resources.
Small businesses tend to be less wasteful. They have to be. How much food is thrown out in the big box stores daily? There is a Mexican market not far from my home where I can get fresh produce and some locally produced food. They are always surprised when I walk in because they don’t get many people from outside their neighborhood. I can get supplies of some foods that aren’t common enough to be stocked in regular grocery chains. Yes, there is some waste, but there are a lot of foods that go to shelters.
When I worked at KFC, the policy was that food MUST be discarded not donated in order to avoid litigation. One 4th of July, we threw out 300 pieces of chicken, which my manager “caught” and transported to a mission house where it was properly stored.
Small businesses are where the capitalistic economy works the best. Big Box stores and monopolies skew the system in favor of the rich. But we buy from Best Buy and Walmart and Costco and K mart because due to economies of scale, they can offer products at a lower price–the essence of the supply and demand model. But they simultaneously drive out the small-business owner and reduce the competition for goods and services. It’s a temporary advantage and a long-term detriment. So next month they will get their business back, and they will get the workers they haven’t endangered back and the economy will roll along as if nothing has happened. Meanwhile, the small businesses are scrambling to get back open and things may not return to normal for another couple of months! But we know “nothing” has not happened. We will be back in the same petri dish that made this virus so virulent. Our pollution levels will go up, our spending will go up, our economy will recover, but we will have learned NOTHING.
Our outrage at temporary restrictions to our freedoms has prolonged the quarantine and increased the number of infections because “Stupid!” So we’re still experiencing massive numbers of people coming down with the virus (and now the side effects) and complications that cause the death toll to be 20 times the deaths in China, the most populous country in the world, and the epicenter of the virus. Their infection and death toll may be underreported and ours over-reported, but not by a factor of 10. We shouldn’t have to have common sense dictated to us by our government. But Stupid! Fully 1/3 of the new deaths reported are from the US, and nearly 1/3 of the TOTAL deaths in the world are from the US. We tend to want instant fixes to problems, and we have lost our capacity for patience.
We love our status quo so much that we’re willing to sacrifice our lives and the lives of our parents and our children to support the top 1% of the country. We need everything to be convenient and uncomplicated so we give away our freedoms (the SAME ones that we are protesting about) to our bosses–when we go to work, when we can take bathroom breaks, how much we get paid, where we live, what cars we can afford, how we spend our money, how we spend our free time (because if your vacation comes in September, your kids are in school so you can’t go anywhere!) and our choices of doctors and insurance and retirement. Freedom? What freedom?
I’m disappointed and embarrassed because we’re America and we should do better.